City Life v.s. Village Life

I should put a disclaimer at the top of every entry I post:

Although I made all effort to make sure I honestly record what I see, I hear, and I think, this blog does not represent Shanghai. People with different history and status have competely different view about the city. It of cause does not represent China.

I read a peom about life in city v.s. life in village. I think it is very true. It reveals how different the two lives are. Let me translate some sentences of the peom and explain why it is true.

I live in city – I was born in hospital

I live in village – I was born in my home.

Don’t take it for granded that there are hospital in all villages. I viisted places where people deliver their babies in home.

I live in city – from today, I become happy citizen of the country.

I live in village – from today, I become a honorable tax payer for the country.

Actually everyone pays tax, but the burnden for people in countryside are much higher compared to the low income they have. They pay not only tax. There are many other fees they need to pay for the village.

I live in city – I am ill. Dad bring me to hospital. I am courious whether insurance cover it.

I live in village – I am ill. Dad sold the pig, and bring me to doctor.

Medical insurance only covers people in city. People in villages, and people who move from one city (home city) to the other city typically are not covered by any medical insurance. If they get ill, they need to pay for themselves.

I live in city – My family bought motor cycle, and prepare to buy car several years later.

I live in village – My family bought a new baby pig. Perhaps the year after next year, it will have more baby pigs.

Still, big contrast about what people are thinking about and expectation about future.

I live in city – Dad want to have a business of his own.

I live in village – Dad want to go into city, to be a farmer worker

Go to city is the dream of many people in villages. Now, farmer worker is a way, but very hard way. They work on construction site and work all days and night.

I live in city – country gave Dad all kinds of benefits, and waived all tax.

I live in village – Dad has to pay all the tax and fees back in home, and need to pay to get all kinds of licenses.

In the previous years, startups and small businesses in city was encouraged, but the situation for farmer workers got worse. From last year, things are getting better.

I live in city – Dad to go bank everyday, and servant smiles to him.

I live in village – Dad ask for delayed salary at the year end, but was beaten and insulted by business owners.

The previous years, farmer workers’ salary is not ensured. Many work for the whole year, and want to get their salary for the year. Many cannot get their salary, and don’t have money to go back home… The situation is better this Spring Festival.

I live in city – Government said Dad work on startups, and benefit the economy

I live in village – government said Dad’s rushing into city made big problems, and maliciously asking for salary.

I live in city – I can move freely in my country.

I live in village – I can live freely in my village.

This is interesting part. For people living in cities, they have city Hukou (or residential certificate) and they typically enjoy going to other cities. However, for people in villages (farmer resident), their move in the country, especially to move into city is restricted. Without Hukou, they don’t have benefit, don’t have medical insurance, and their child cannot go to local schools. (This is changing)

I live in city – Tomorrow is promising.

I live in village – Tomorrow is hopeless.

This is totally two different expectation about the future.

Totally Different

That is the current situation of the country. There are many good things everyday, and there are many bad things. One thing to point out is, many situation listed above are true about two years ago. Now, although it is still true in majority population, a lot of things are improving in the last two years. There is still a long way to go.

63 thoughts on “City Life v.s. Village Life

  1. A humorous way to show some true pictures of the differences between people in cities and people in villages. It is true to some extent, but I think the living standards of people in villages will improve in the near future if more cares are taken to them.

  2. Reminds me of a saying, translated into English goes something like this…

    If you are rich, you will have relatives from near and far visiting you even when you live high up in the mountain. However, nobody cares about you if you are penniless living in the big city.

    Hmmm…so realistic…life can be so cruel at times.

  3. grAce

    It is a bold assumption that things will improve in the future.

    Let me give you some examples about how things improved in the past 7 years. 7 years ago when I left the country, people in my home town, a small village in the north west, are poor, but they have hope. They believe in the officials, they believe good deeds will bring them good future. When I came back last year, people on longer have faith in anything. They think good people are stupid. The only way to become rich is to out done others the bad things. My 80 year old grandmother used to be a fervent believer in Buddhism, now she is cursing the god. “God must be fucking blind”, it is shocking to hear such words come out of the mouth of a lady like her.

    Here are more horrifying stories from my hometown.

    The police put bodies of the murder victims onto the street at midnight to fake traffic accidents because they have been pressured by the above that all murder case must be solved.

    To bring more profit to the local transportation business, buses from other counties are not allow to pick up passengers when they pass by, otherwise there window glasses will be smashed by gangsters backed by local officials.

    After 3 years of paying his respect to the officials, my nephew finally became a civil servant. But his is not on the official pay roll. His salary comes from the fine tickets he always carries in his pocket.

    And here is one more story of my own. Last year when I went to the police station to report a thievery case, the detective handling the case looked strait in my eye and said, “if you pay all the expenses I’ll investigate. And as a friend, I suggest you don’t waste any money.”

    Here I should put a disclaimer. These stories are all hear-says or personal experiences, it does not represent the true picture of China at all. The true picture can only be found in news on CCTV. If you look for it anywhere else, it is you problem.

  4. xge:

    I have a little more hope than you do. A couple months ago, I watched the movie “The World” by 贾章柯. I was so deeply touched. For me this is probably the only meaningful movie which has been made by a Chinese movie maker for the last a few years. Most of the character’s life in the movie is so sad and hopeless; however, I do see the hope because people like 贾章柯, who deeply cares about those people. The so called fifth generation directors like ZhangYiMo and ChengKaiGe are completely sold out and becoming socially irrelevant. But the newer generation of the intellects have show some guts and consciousness. I wish this is just a start.

    JianShuo:

    By the way, where did you find the poem.

  5. xge:

    I totally believe everything you mentioned is true and real case in people’s daily life that’s why someone complain even hate our country, but, as a matter of fact, the siturations are improved to some extent while more concers are taken as derating farmers’ taxation, more health care are provided, more scientific and fair mechanisms are established or planed to be built.

    The awareness of humanity is rising in our country, although some regions some people ignore it so far. Maybe I am too optimistic.

  6. Remind me why ppl from remote area always learn more harder than other students in high school:

    I live in city – Tomorrow is promising.

    I live in village – Tomorrow is hopeless UNLESS I study hard and get university admission in city

  7. BLUEKITE

    Zhang Yimou used to be a very good directer. Have you seen ‘To Live(活着)’. I believe it is the best movie I’ve ever seen so far. Look what kind of movie he is making now. It is obvious that he has not improved much. But anyway, let’s keep our hopes up spirits high. I was always regarded by my friends as lighthearted and optimistic after all.

  8. good article.

    many workmate and schoolmate come from contryside, they were poor ,they go to university,then work at shanghai city.

    they became rich.many people salary is 6000 RMB/per month.

    they become more rich than me.

    shirley

  9. js, would it be better if you describe it as: urban dweller vs rural dweller.

    In North America, village is often refer to the cottages, golf courses, resorts and country clubs.

  10. js, is there a legitimate way to transfer the ‘hukou’ from rural to urban?

  11. there many way to transfer the “hukou” from rural to urban.

    在安徽省,如果农民在城市里买得起房子,就给3个户口.

    不过,在江阴市,要申请”农村户口”比较困难,因为那里的农民待遇高,不给城市人”转成农民户口”.

    shirley

  12. so “hukou” is like a two ways street, a barrier for people who are seeking greener pasture within their own turf.

  13. Wang you are kickass and your blog is charmingly sincere, keep up the great work!

    I’m visiting Shanghai for 10 weeks during summer break. Where would you say are the best places to shop for bargain fashion items for the 18 – 25 year old?

  14. I should put a disclaimer at the top of every entry I post:

    Although I made all effort to make sure I honestly record what I see, I hear, and I think, this blog does not represent Shanghai. People with different history and status have competely different view about the city. It of cause does not represent China.

    I read a peom about life in city v.s. life in village. I think it is very true. It reveals how different the two lives are. Let me translate some sentences of the peom and explain why it is true.

    I live in city – I was born in hospital

    I live in village – I was born in my home.

    Don’t take it for granded that there are hospital in all villages. I viisted places where people deliver their babies in home.

    I live in city – from today, I become happy citizen of the country.

    I live in village – from today, I become a honorable tax payer for the country.

    Actually everyone pays tax, but the burnden for people in countryside are much higher compared to the low income they have. They pay not only tax. There are many other fees they need to pay for the village.

    I live in city – I am ill. Dad bring me to hospital. I am courious whether insurance cover it.

    I live in village – I am ill. Dad sold the pig, and bring me to doctor.

    Medical insurance only covers people in city. People in villages, and people who move from one city (home city) to the other city typically are not covered by any medical insurance. If they get ill, they need to pay for themselves.

    I live in city – My family bought motor cycle, and prepare to buy car several years later.

    I live in village – My family bought a new baby pig. Perhaps the year after next year, it will have more baby pigs.

    Still, big contrast about what people are thinking about and expectation about future.

    I live in city – Dad want to have a business of his own.

    I live in village – Dad want to go into city, to be a farmer worker

    Go to city is the dream of many people in villages. Now, farmer worker is a way, but very hard way. They work on construction site and work all days and night.

    I live in city – country gave Dad all kinds of benefits, and waived all tax.

    I live in village – Dad has to pay all the tax and fees back in home, and need to pay to get all kinds of licenses.

    In the previous years, startups and small businesses in city was encouraged, but the situation for farmer workers got worse. From last year, things are getting better.

    I live in city – Dad to go bank everyday, and servant smiles to him.

    I live in village – Dad ask for delayed salary at the year end, but was beaten and insulted by business owners.

    The previous years, farmer workers’ salary is not ensured. Many work for the whole year, and want to get their salary for the year. Many cannot get their salary, and don’t have money to go back home… The situation is better this Spring Festival.

    I live in city – Government said Dad work on startups, and benefit the economy

    I live in village – government said Dad’s rushing into city made big problems, and maliciously asking for salary.

    I live in city – I can move freely in my country.

    I live in village – I can live freely in my village.

    This is interesting part. For people living in cities, they have city Hukou (or residential certificate) and they typically enjoy going to other cities. However, for people in villages (farmer resident), their move in the country, especially to move into city is restricted. Without Hukou, they don’t have benefit, don’t have medical insurance, and their child cannot go to local schools. (This is changing)

    I live in city – Tomorrow is promising.

    I live in village – Tomorrow is hopeless.

    This is totally two different expectation about the future.

    Totally Different

    That is the current situation of the country. There are many good things everyday, and there are many bad things. One thing to point out is, many situation listed above are true about two years ago. Now, although it is still true in majority population, a lot of things are improving in the last two years. There is still a long way to go.

  15. hey

    it seems conditions are similar everywhere in the world.

    im from india.

    and conditions are not different.

  16. fine post as a fine reminder to all who are willing to remember old times and to wish a promising tomorrow!!

    i m looking for a picture of contrasting lives in urban and in rural area for my students, and i m so lucky to accidentally be here cause you really offered me what i want!!

  17. hii

    it’s true that difference between the city life nd village life is more.till now a days………as nobdy of city can spend enough their time in village without light ,,good food.,,fine water…but village’people can spend their time in city…nd also village’people alwys stands themsleves energetic in all the circumstances…

  18. Hi,

    I’m a secondary student from Singapore and must say that your blog entry is very enlightening. I have been rather interested in China since I entered secondary school and find that this entry reflects perfectly the myriad social problems that rapid urbanisation brings about.

    Singapore used to have such problems until our ex-PM Lee implemented anti-corruption campaigns, education reform etc, but he could only achieve it because Singapore then had only 1.5-2 million population. It will be interesting to see how the PRC government deals with this and other social issues like environmental degradation and so on.

    Actually, this situation is prevalent in almost every 3rd world country such as Indonesia, but the difference here is that there actually seems to be hope of solving this problem through quality village education. To tell the truth, the progress of education reform and upgrading in certain Chinese villages has been very heartening, with many villages having “respectable” primary and secondary schools (ie. concrete/tile walls, paved fields and improved roads, at least 1 computer for every 4 pupils). As a result, more and more “village people” are entering Tsinghua, Beijing U or other top schools. The challenge for PRC’s government is to ensure that progress is not stopped by corrupt officials or lack of enthusiasm, and also to solve the social problems and psychological stigma the inevitably comes with this.

    As it is, the results of such educational reforms have been excellent. As a supporter of the ideal that “a well-governed dictatorship is better than a misguided democracy”, I hope that the PRC government can improve the situation soon, making this post blessedly obsolete. Go China!

  19. @Adi Chew… I am very impressed with your insights. I also live in Singapore, and spent much time living in Shanghai, where my wife is from.

    Welcome to Jian Shuo’s blog, however I would like to disagree on your last comment. I am yet to see (in any part of history) a dictatorship successfully support the rights of the people in any country. Democracy enables freedom of speech and freedom from persecution. There is an old saying – “Power breeds Corruption” – in short, power should belong to the people, not to any indvidual.

    Take care mate… :D

  20. Jian Shuo,

    I just found this blog…..so much to read. I’m trying to read all. What I really want to know is cultural. What are the hip trends and fads now. I am comming to China in 2008 and want to bring gifts. Do apts have microwaves. Do you play video games on your TV.

    I am looking for any web sites that will help me read about young people in china now.

  21. Hello AussiePB,

    Do you consider the Ex Prime Minister of Singapore Mr Lee as a dictator ??

    My take on history is that dictatorship often comes before democracy.

    The first president of Turkey started off as somewhat of a dictator. But he was wise enough to set up a democratic system for the country.

    An iron glove is sometimes needed to get the house in order before it can be taken away.

    It’s just a process. Some countries takes a longer time to get there but eventually all will arrive at a system of government that is more or less democratic. If power breeds corruption, then we should be assured that dictatorships will never last very long. Democracy in the hands of an unsophisticated population is often disasterous for the country too.

  22. @Adi Chew, This is a good forum area. Do stick around.

    If you’re not careful you might even learn something. :)

    I totally agree with your point that “a well-governed dictatorship is better than a misguided democracy”

    America, despite all it’s harping on it’s democratic ways, has basically only two political parties. It’s people have only two option of choosing which direction it wants to go. They forget that for many less developed countries, there are sometimes too many little parties to offer a cohesive strategy for the country’s development. For years they have supported the Shah of Iran, a ruthless dictator until he was “overthrown by the masses” (a somewhat unorthodox democratic action)

    Pakistan seems to be going thru some sort of upheaval. Granted I am a little short on understanding the actual situation, It appears to me that the western reporters are having a great time pushing their own agenda. I doubt they would be celebrating the triumph of democracy if the population votes in a taliban government.

  23. There are a number of other examples in which benevolent dictatorships fare better than misguided democracies:

    Bhutan does not seem to be a large player in international affairs, but has successfully implemented a total ban on cigarettes and tobacco (I think it is the first country to do so). Its people are content and the country is peaceful, despite it being a dictatorship.

    Brunei, though under the rule of a Sultan, or Seri Begawan, has one of the highest per capita incomes in South East Asia. An oil-producing state, social services rival those in developed countries, even the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway etc. Tax is low (I think there is little to no income tax) and people enjoy good life, with modern amenities, very good education and rather strong spending power.

    Besides, even if you consider Singapore a dictatorship under the “Lee Dynasty”, I believe that its Human Development is equal to some European countries. Life is good here, at least for the great majority, and education is first-rate.

    Contrast this to certain nations that began as democracies. There is no offence meant, but in my humble opinion, the lack of development in the Philippines is partly due to the blind adoption of US-style democracy. Furthermore, certain African/South American nations began as democracies but descended into chaos with military coups, short-sighted policies etc. I do not ignore or understate the goodness and importance of free opinion and freedom of speech, but at times personal rights have to be foregone for the sake of the greater good, especially if the people still do not understand or do not want to assume the responsibilities that come with them.

  24. the boy in village is solders opset of the boy of city 0000

    the boy in the city blay game and blaystion and ccumputer so on ..

    the boy in a village help him father and work a hard works

  25. i like village life . its beatiful ……………………iam live in village……india…..ap..kakinada…kothalanka……………………………………………………………..]

  26. how is village life in pakistan i have a question in my mind u have solved it again and again all r solved again but my mind is not clear yet will u give me more information pl

  27. hmmmmm,,,, nice poem n fantastic explanatio too,,, when i read this poem i felt reality.

    i reveals that how differnt the two lives are,,,,,,

    superbbbbbb

  28. hi,,,,,, this is preal

    hmmmm,,,,, nice poem n fantastic explanation too,,,,, when i read this poem i felt reality.

    i reveals that how different, the two lives are,,,,,,,

    superbbbbb,,,

  29. u may right in every aspect my dear,,,,,,,,,but as per i seen the villages of state gujarat and punjab are most developed and prospureous village of india,,,,,,,according to survey the villages of gujarat are found as most prosperous and richest villages of india……………and u can get A to Z facilities here,,,,,,,,,,,,

    so i think the villageres of gujarat and punjab are purly inafective from above points…………..

  30. the villages of gujarat and punjab are more developed than even most of CITIES of other state,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  31. villagelife is also nice.but in this,gives priority to citylife only.so it is not good

  32. Actually everyone pays tax, but the burnden for people in countryside are much higher compared to the low income they have. They pay not only tax. There are many other fees they need to pay for the village.

    I am a Chinese who study abroad. Actually the situation is not what you said. Most of the tax people pay are income tax. Since their income is low, compared to the city’s income, their income tax rate is much lower than those in big city. So their tax is not much, either compares their income. The truth is many of them do not pay tax at all. As the countryside do not have hospital, how come the countryside developed to be aware to pay tax. But there are many other fees bother them is true, suh as the tuition fee especially.

  33. i live in Pakistan and i don’t think that village life gives a person the benefits he wants.I have been to village a number of times and people r uneducated and they don’t have manners how to communicate with others.people are living without any basic needs..they have to walk long distances to bring water for drinking.people don’t know when the light will come back after it has gone.people works day and night to earn money and more than half of it is paid in taxes.people are fighting over areas and they don’t have any secure life.

    I think city life is a much harder but it gives a person his effort back.his effort and work does not get wasted.we don’t have to go miles in search for water.a car comes in the morning and delivers a water bottle.we have hospitals.we have light coming 24/7.

    I think city life is better………

  34. i live in Pakistan and i don’t think that village life gives a person the benefits he wants.I have been to village a number of times and people r uneducated and they don’t have manners how to communicate with others.people are living without any basic needs..they have to walk long distances to bring water for drinking.people don’t know when the light will come back after it has gone.people works day and night to earn money and more than half of it is paid in taxes.people are fighting over areas and they don’t have any secure life.

  35. I think a village life is better because it is more peaceful and relaxing.

    In a city one is always running around with the clock – life seems more hectic.

    Maybe there is more to do in a city life then in a village life when it comes to entertainment.

    But being in a village where life can be more relaxing is nicer.

    Many say that city life is rich life but there are rich people in villages also.

    Cities have higher crime rates and are more impersonal. You tend to know your neighbors in a village and crime tends to be low.

    Villages have a cheaper price of living than cities.

    There is a big backyard and privacy from neighbors. But there are places in the cities where houses are too near each other, like track homes.

    Villages only feed the cities.

    Peaceful enjoyment with no traffic Jams, Clean air, Slow and steady life, Tree Shades in summers, clear Sky full of stars at Nigh then Village life is best.

  36. WOW!!

    thanx a lot 4 da info. was reaaaally helpful. just da things i needed

    congradz

  37. i too love the village more than da city. city is mich more advanced yes but all i like is sit somewhere peaceful and read a book or rest. u cant do these in a city.

    and thanx 4 da information

    rash

  38. VILLAGE IS BASE OF COUNTRY AND CITY IS THE BUILDING. in short village is exam and city is result

  39. hello

    rash ud expressed ur ideas in a very nice way.id like 2 liv in a village coz itz very quiet and relaxing . i like to enjoy da cold breeze and fresh air which isnt available in the city.so thanx da infomation………

  40. its true that the life of city is good rather the life of villege, if perosn want becouce a doctor, or more other filds so every thing evailible in city, city has many advantages over village because city modern life facility are easily available, as telephone gs internet schools colleges universities hospitals industries facturies roads airpotrs railway stations and many more, but most village are deprived of these many facilites like many villages no facility of gas telephone roads, ect.

    city life is more advaneced then village life because in city you can get education facilityes easily, you can find college or university of your own choice more ever you can learn modern technologeis easilty in city from skilled perosn but unfortunatelty these tacilities are not easilty availible. city people have more job apportunaites have as compare to people living in villages in city you can find job in factory or even you can start your own business where is village is mostly agriculture based so they mostly depend upon agriculture crops income. so my choice the life is good of city,,,

  41. village life is better bcoz we can get fresh air and environment but in city life there is poplution . i know that we can get more facilities in city life , we can do our work very fast by geting facilities but these facilities are making people very lazy day by day
    so village life is better

  42. Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!

  43. I am very sorry for swearing. I hope you accept my apology and forgive me.
    I also really like your website and it also helped me understand the differences
    between village life and city life. Thank you. : )

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